We’ve all seen the “I Heart (fill in the blank here)” bumper stickers, promos and campaigns that are a dime a dozen. As a farmer, I’m particularly fond of “I Heart Food.” But, unfortunately, because of a labor shortage in our farm fields, there’s a growing crisis about the future of our food supply. That’s why farmers “Heart” immigration reform.
In that spirit, throughout the month of February, farmers across the country, in conjunction with the Partnership for the New American Economy, will be using a slightly different spin to show consumers and lawmakers just how important immigration reform is to our food system. The truth is, we either import our labor or we import our food.
America’s farmers and ranchers need a balanced immigration reform bill that includes a fair and workable farm labor provision. We are encouraged by the House Republican Conference’s commitment to moving forward on immigration reform this year with the release of their immigration ‘standards.’ The American Farm Bureau Federation supports the House using these principles as guideposts and, specifically, we appreciate the recognition that agriculture’s need for a legal and stable workforce must be addressed.
But much work remains and farmers will continue to work toward passage of responsible immigration reform legislation that includes an earned adjustment for experienced, undocumented agricultural workers and a new, flexible guest worker program.